A tier-one automotive equipment manufacturer, the Group is now continuing its transformation and international expansion with a rebrand. This unifying identity marks a new drive forward for the group, in line with the dynamic profile of Akwel. Already the preferred supplier of car and HGV manufacturers, Akwel is now in a real position to challenge the world’s leading equipment and systems suppliers.
INTERNATIONAL GROWTH FOR THE BENEFIT OF ITS STRATEGIC CLIENTS
An independent, family-run group for over 45 years, Akwel current operates in five continents with nearly 11,000 employees across 42 sites in 22 countries. From a simple outsourcer, Akwel has transformed itself into a world-renowned equipment and systems manufacturer that designs, develops and distributes efficient products and systems, targeted primarily at a consistent market of a dozen global strategic clients (such as PSA, Ford, Renault–Nissan, GM, Tata–JLR, FCA, Geely–Volvo Car, BMW, Volvo GTT, Daimler, Dongfeng, Changan). Since 2011, Akwel has been undergoing particularly rapid growth, both internally and through acquisitions, for example of Avon Automotive and Autotube AB, doubling its size. This culminated in sales topping the €1 bn mark for the first time in 2017.
In order to support the development needs of its clients, Akwel is strengthening its global presence and making sure it is based in the most convenient possible locations for their manufacturing and assembly sites. Two new production sites will open in the next two years, in Thailand in 2018 with the Rayong site, and in Vidin in Bulgaria in 2020. By this point in its future, the group predicts sales to have reached €1.2 bn.
A BUSINESS DRIVEN BY PRODUCT, PERFORMANCE AND INNOVATION
Akwel works in two different areas of expertise, fluid management (86% of sales) and mechanisms (14% of sales).
It applies its industrial and technological know-how to help master the use and transformation of materials (plastics, rubber, metals), as well as mechatronics, a multidisciplinary field of science essential to the transformation of raw materials. The group also harbours cutting-edge skills in tooling (design, production, development), complex assembly (welding, joining, collars, overmoulding, snap-ons) and electronics (hardware and software).
Using this finely-tuned expertise, the group’s Research & Development division is constantly adapting to the changing needs of its clients. This has led to Akwel receiving numerous awards, and it has filed nearly 200 patents in the past five years. Its successes include the innovative flush handle which was used in the Renault Symbioz self-driving concept car.
A STRATEGY OF BEST SUPPORT FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE VEHICLES OF TOMORROW
The world of the car is undergoing massive change, and its featured roles are constantly evolving. The cars of tomorrow will experience a complete overhaul, from their engines to their driverless capabilities and configuration. In response to these paradigm shifts, Akwel has to strengthen and accelerate its ability to develop new products and solutions. The group’s expertise and the synergies of its plastics/metals/rubber/electronics research will allow it to focus on cutting-edge technology, such as climate control, mechatronics, hydrogen and new mechanisms.
These strengths are what will help Akwel provide the best possible support for manufacturers and the new challenges they face, to manufacture driverless and connected cars that are more reliable, environmentally friendly and for a competitive price.